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Leonardo in the News

March 29, 2012

There has been a ton of different news items regarding Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci over the last few weeks.  Continue thru the break for the stories.

First we have to mention that there is an exhibition of drawings by our very own Anthony Panzera.  65 drawings by Panzera examine the scientific understanding of human anatomy and proportions developed by Leonardo in his notebooks.  A professor of anatomical drawing at Hunter College in Manhattan, Panzera has been studying Leonardo’s drawings for over 3o years, and has completed a full year independent study in Florence.  “This is one of the most beautiful exhibitions of drawings by a contemporary artist that I have ever seen.” raves Raymond Steiner of the Art Times in his review of Panzera’s show.  The exhibition is up thru April 15th at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, The State University of New York at New Paltz.

Continue for more news . . . The Mona Lisa’s birthday being questioned, Vasari’s fresco gets an endoscopy looking for Lost Leo, The Prado Mona Lisa reveals her secrets, Ferragamo at the Louvre, a rediscovered masterpiece?,  the art and technology of attribution. . after the break…  

The Mona Lisa’s date is being reconsidered.  It is well documented that Leonardo started the painting in 1506, however, the year of completion is now being questioned by as much as 13 years later.  Due to a newly discovered drawing matching the landscape in La Gioconda.

A hidden masterpiece?  Scientists are drilling through a fresco masterpiece by Vasari (pictured right) in search of Leonardo’s “The Battle of Anghiari.”  Leonardo started his fresco for the Hall of 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio with experimental methods, and when it began to fall apart he abandoned the project.  It is believed that because of Vasari’s great respect, when he was commissioned by Cosimo de’Medici  to renovate the hall and paint a mural fresco on the same wall, he may have first built out a new false wall to protect Leonardo’s work.  Research and controversy continues on this project.

The Prado’s Mona Lisa reveals her secrets.  This version was thought to have been a copy painted decades after da Vinci’s death.  The background had been blacked out in the 18th century, assumably to meet the trends of the day.   but now the Madrid museum has cleaned away the black background to reveal a landscape very similar to the original, leading conservators and experts to now estimate that this copy was actually painted by one of Leonardo’s direct students around the same time as the original, perhaps even side by side the master in the studio by his assistant and reputed lover, Salai.

the headline says it all – Ferragamo Backs Leonardo Exhibition, Gets Louvre Fashion Show

A renaissance portrait that sold for $20,000 15 years ago, if proved to be by Leonardo, could be worth over $100 Million.  NOVA on PBS did an entire show looking at high tech analysis of a could-be da Vinci.  And you can watch the entire show for free on their website watch ‘Mystery of a Masterpiece‘.

Another good article about the science of attribution of Leonardo’s works surrounding the blockbuster show held by the National Gallery in London over the winter which featured “around half of the 15 or so paintings by Leonardo which are known to be in existence, as well as 50 of his original drawings.”  The show also brought together the two versions of “Virgin of the Rocks,” explored here in exceptional depth.

Along with the exhibition, Leonardo Live HD was a project to show the exhibition around the world through select screenings in movie theaters world wide.  Unfortunately it really wasn’t promoted well and had very limited screenings, even in major cities. Hopefully the video will be released in a more accessible way soon.

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